I suppose my labor story really starts on Monday, August 23rd. I started having contractions throughout the day. They weren’t strong (really just tightening). They were probably just braxton hicks contractions, but I definitely felt a ton more than I had in the previous months. They were completely random, but they continued throughout most of Monday and into Tuesday.
On Wednesday I had my 39 week doctors appointment. The week before I had been between 1 and 2 centimeters and completely posterior. We were hoping for change and hoping that my cervix would be a little big more favorable so that if I needed an induction the following week it would be more likely to end in a vaginal birth and not a c-section. Mr. P was convinced I was going to make it to our induction the next Tuesday. When the doctor checked me I was at 3 centimeters and 80% effaced. My cervix had moved out of the posterior position. Jacob was not engaged, but head down and ready to go. The doctor told Mr P that my chances of delivering over the weekend were 25%, but that was after he said he’d be surprised if I made it to our induction date. I think he was trying to make him feel better about the trip to Vegas.
On the way home from the doctor’s appointment I started having contractions that were stronger than those I’d had on Monday. They felt like mild cramps and were still random, but definitely there. Although I was always crampy after an internal exam, these were definitely stronger. When I timed them they were averaging 7 to 8 minutes apart, but over time they started to slow down.
That evening we had our dinner at The Cliff House and afterwards we went over to Mike and Tiffany’s to hang out for a bit. Tiffany and I spent our time discussing how I was feeling and how her labor went. We even texted her friend who is a midwife to ask when she thought I was going to go into labor. She thought it would be soon, but wasn’t sure how soon. The boys sat on the couch and seemed convinced that I would make it until they returned from Vegas on Sunday. Tiffany and I were not so convinced.
I slept really well Wednesday night and Thursday morning. Although I was still having contractions they weren’t as regular as they had once been and seemed to slow considerably during the day. I felt pretty comfortable with Mr P leaving for Vegas. I was feeling like it would be Saturday, so I thought it would be nice for him to have a day or two with his friends. He left Thursday afternoon.
I went to bed early to try and get some good rest. I slept from 9:30 to 2:30, when I got up to use the bathroom. I noticed that I was having contractions, but they weren’t intense (they felt like braxton hicks contractions). Around 3:30 I started timing because they seemed pretty consistent. They were 8 to 9 minutes apart consistently for two hours. At that point my intuition kicked in and I knew this was real labor. I knew it was time to call Mr P. I left him a message and heard back shortly there after.
Of course, in true Vegas fashion, they were just getting back to their room and hadn’t been to sleep yet. I booked a flight for him while he goofed around with the boys and made sure that he knew he needed to be to the airport by 8am. His flight was leaving at 10:10 and I didn’t want him to miss it. While I was booking his flight the contractions started to intensify and were coming about 7 to 8 minutes apart.
He was scheduled to arrive in Denver at 1:10 and have an hour and a half layover and be into Colorado Springs by 3:39. His truck was already at the airport so he could be to the hospital in 20 or 25 minutes from there. It seemed like we were cutting it a little close, but I spent the rest of the morning praying that he would make it!!
Now, while this is all going on I was also checking in with my Mom periodically. She had left West Texas the night before and stayed in a hotel in New Mexico (about 4 hours away). She was leaving her hotel around 6 am and was planning to be to my house between 9:30 and 10.
By the time I’d gotten everything settled with Mr P it was about 7. My Mom was due to arrive in just a few hours. I actually got up and took a shower. I shaved my legs and even dried and styled my hair. I finished packing my hospital bag and got all three of our bags downstairs. I organized upstairs, made the bed and cleaned a little bit. I just felt the need to make sure that the house would be clean and orderly when we returned.
While I was up and moving around I wasn’t feeling the contractions, at least the pain from them. They just felt like tightening. However, they started coming even more frequently. They were roughly 3 to 4 minutes apart after I got out of the shower. Oh – and right before the shower I lost a huge chunk of the mucus plug. It was probably the most slimy and disgusting thing to happen the entire 9 months I was pregnant.
By the time I was downstairs doing the dishes my Mom arrived. I believe it was about 9:30. She had brought an entire box of my baby clothes, so we sat upstairs in Jacob’s room and went through the box. I was starving at that point and she had some letters to mail, so we went off to the post office and the grocery store. The contractions started to pick up while we were at the post office and were definitely stronger by the time we got to King Soopers. We picked up some eggs for breakfast (since the ones at home were frozen…weird, right?).
When we got home my Mom started on eggs and toast. It was at that point that I had to start walking to deal with the pain of the contractions. They were coming about 3 minutes apart and were much stronger than before. I spent the entire time she was cooking walking circles around the kitchen! I had a few bites of breakfast and I knew it was time to go. We packed everything in the car and headed off to the hospital at 11:25.
The hospital is pretty much on the OTHER side of town (but it was brand new and the only hospital my OB worked out of…so I dealt with it). It took about 25 minutes to get there. We were up in the triage wing by 11:55 and settled into a room shortly there after. I changed into a hospital gown and laid down. I had purchased my own delivery gown, but it was in my suitcase…that was in the car. Oh well.
When the Triage Nurse checked me at noon I was just a little past 3 centimeters. All of those contractions since Wednesday and hardly any change. I wasn’t feeling too great at that point. She wanted to give me an hour on the monitor to see if there was any change. She could tell I was in labor and wouldn’t be going home, but you still have to go through an hour in Triage.
During that time I had a really hard time relaxing during the contractions. I tried laying down on my side and my hips were just really tight. I was trying to use all of my yoga breathing techniques and they weren’t helping. I just couldn’t relax my hips and back. I was having horrible back labor and was feeling 90% of the pain in my back. By about 12:30 I started to feel really, really nauseated at the end of each contraction. I actually started throwing up (so much for breakfast) after every contraction. By that point I was walking in circles during the contractions and it really didn’t seem like that was helping.
Mr. P called from DIA about 12:30 (he called while I was throwing up for the first time). My Mom answered the phone and Mr P let her know that he’d decided to take a cab from DIA to the Colorado Springs Airport. I found out later that he’d decided on a cab instead of the flight down because being on the airplane was making him sick (guess that’s what happens when you’re up drinking all night in Vegas!!). I’m pretty glad he decided on the cab though. In the end it was a good thing!
The nurse checked me again at 1 and I was at 5 centimeters. I’d gone from 3 to 5 in an hour. She contacted my doctor (who was actually the on call doctor for the weekend) and he said it was time to admit me! At that point they were waiting for a room to be prepared, so I didn’t leave triage for another hour. During that time I finally figured out something that helped me manage the back pain a little better. If I sat on the edge of the bed, put my hands on either side of my hips and rocked side to side I was able to enter a bit of a trance and make it through the contraction. My Mom sat next to me and let me know when each contraction had peaked and reminded me to BREATHE.
By the end of that second hour in Triage I’d decided I wanted an epidural. I had prepared for the possibility of a natural labor, but knew that in the end I would probably end up with an epidural and honestly I’m glad I got one. But anyways. The nurse had informed me that once I was in a L&D room they could call the anesthesiologist. My L&D nurse came to pick me up around 2. I was freezing, pale and pretty miserable when she arrived. I had two heated blankets on me and I was still pretty cold and pale. She commented later that I looked so much happier and better after the epidural.
I was transferred to my new room and the anesthesiologist arrived shortly after that. It really is true what everyone says. At that point in labor the man with the drugs is really the most attractive man ever. And I was able to tell him that in between contractions! At least I hadn’t lost my sense of humor!! He got to work pretty quickly and it seemed like once he had the catheter in my back I was already feeling pain relief. I only had to sit through a few contractions and I managed. It was worth it.
After that I felt absolutely AMAZING. My nurse, Nicole, was also pregnant and we chatted with her for a little bit. Mr P arrived around 3:15 and boy was I glad to see him! I really didn’t want him to miss the birth. He looked pretty tired and rough, but he was amazing through the entire thing. I’m pretty sure he showed up with Chick-Fil-A too. YUM. Too bad I couldn’t have any!
Our OB periodically checked in with me and at one point when the fetal monitor moved he was in the room within a minute to make sure everything was okay. That made me feel really safe.
Around 3:30 I started to feel pain in my back again. It was dull, like the cramps that I get during my period. I pressed the magic button that administers more pain medication and it really didn’t help. Over the next 45 minutes the pain in my back got stronger and stronger (and I started feeling pain in the front as well) so I asked my nurse about it. She had the anesthesiologist come back and check things out. He arrived about 4:30 (I was at 9 centimeters when he came back) and I was pretty uncomfortable. He gave me two options – 1. I could continue without medication or 2. He could re-insert the catheter, but there was a chance that I would end up with a spinal headache. I went for a new catheter and was fine with that. I didn’t have any headaches anyways.
Mr P’s Mom arrived around 4:30 and I was still in a pretty good mood when she arrived. Mr P held my hands this time while I got a new epidural. He’s not a big fan of needles and I’m so glad he didn’t pass out on me. Of course he couldn’t really see anything going on, but still. The epidural started to kick in pretty quickly. Unfortunately it was really only helping with the pain in the front. It did dull the back pain a bit (to the point where it was manageable), but not completely.
My OB decided it was time to break my water when I was at 9 centimeters and there was a ton of THICK meconium in it. He called the NICU and alerted them, so that they would be present in the room. Unfortunately the meconium meant that I wouldn’t be able to have Jacob on my stomach right after his birth. The OB was really concerned about him inhaling it.
After I was all settled again the nurse checked me and I was at 10 centimeters!!! WOW. I’d gone from 6 centimeters at 2:00 to 10 centimeters at 5:00. She had me do a few practice pushes to see how things were looking before she called in the doctor. I pushed twice and she knew it was time. The doctor literally walked through the door as she was leaving to call him.
At that point things started to get a little hectic and there were people in and out getting things ready. Honestly, I felt so much more relaxed than I expected to. I expected to be nervous and anxious, but I was relaxed and ready to meet Jacob. My nurse had given me some extra oxygen to help keep Jacob’s heart rate where it should be.
At 5:15 I started pushing. I had my Mom on my right, my mother in law on my left and Mr P behind me rubbing my shoulders (and holding my hand in between contractions). All three of them were cheering me on and it was so amazing to have them all there. I know a lot of women only want their significant others in the room, but I really don’t think I could have done it without my Mom and mother in law there with me. I was so thankful for both of their support and I’m so happy they both got to be there for Jacob’s birth.
I pushed for 25 minutes before he was born. At 5:39 he made his entrance into the world! The OB quickly cut his cord and rushed him over to the NICU nurses. He didn’t cry right away (which was good) but once he started crying I remember thinking to myself that it was the most beautiful sound I’d ever heard. It brought tears to my eyes to hear him cry. It was over (or really – just beginning).
They spent a good 20 minutes (maybe longer) cleaning him up and getting all of the fluid and meconium out of his nose, mouth and ears. Mr P mentioned later that there was meconium coming out of his ears. Poor baby. Luckily – he did not inhale any so he didn’t have to go to the NICU. Thank goodness.
Mr. P ended up cutting the cord after the nurse made a comment about him being a soldier! Something about how he could handle it if he was a soldier. He said it was much tougher than he expected.
While everyone was fussing over Jacob I was getting stitched up. I did tear in two different places because he crowned in one push and the OB was unable to assist me enough to stop it. I had a 2nd degree tear on the bottom and a 1st degree tear on the top. It did take him a while to stitch me up though.
Once all of that was done I was finally able to hold my son. It was the most amazing feeling to finally get to look into his little face. It was truly love at first sight. It was this little creature that had been kicking me for all of those months. I’d grown so close to him when he was inside that it was amazing to be able to finally see how beautiful he truly was. It was 20 minutes of my life that I will never forget.
Looking back on it I feel like I had an amazing birth experience. Despite the fact that it was a little dramatic (with Vegas and whatnot) it was still perfect. It went much more quickly than I expected even though it lasted 13 hours. I had expected to be waiting and waiting in the hospital and that was not the case. Although it was labor and delivery I enjoyed every second of it and I love to go back and look through the pictures to relive it.
It all ended with the most amazing gift in the world and it made all of the pain (what little I had) and the 9 months of waiting worthwhile. I still cannot believe that such a perfect little human grew inside of me from basically nothing. I can’t believe he was once the size of a poppy seed. It amazes me that this little person is a piece of both Mr P and I. We created him and every day when I look at his perfect face I am reminded of that. I see so much of both of us in him. I am so looking forward to watching him grow into a little boy, a teenager, husband and father, but for now I’m completely and utterly in love with my little baby boy.